About Breast Cancer>Emotional Health > Fear of recurrence

Fear of recurrence


Fear of recurrence, or fear of the cancer coming back, is one of the most common worries among women with breast cancer. This fear can have a powerful effect on the quality of your life. Nearly all women who have had breast cancer worry about this possibility.

These are some common concerns you might have about the cancer coming back:

  • You may worry that cancer will come back in your affected breast, your other breast, or in other parts of your body.
  • You may have concerns about having to go through treatment again. You may also have fears of experiencing pain or discomfort from more surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or other treatments.
  • You may feel stressed about the impact of another diagnosis on your appearance, relationships, social life, family, or career.
  • No matter what stage of cancer you had, you may be afraid of dying from cancer.

You are not alone. Knowing what triggers your fears and how to manage your feelings can help you cope. We hope the information in this section can help with your worries about recurrence.


Reviewed and updated: November 5, 2019

Reviewed by: Hester Hill Schnipper LICSW, BCD, OSW-C


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Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to create a world that understands there is more than one way to have breast cancer. To fulfill its mission of providing trusted information and a community of support to those impacted by the disease, Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers on-demand emotional, practical, and evidence-based content. For over 30 years, the organization has remained committed to creating a culture of acceptance — where sharing the diversity of the lived experience of breast cancer fosters self-advocacy and hope. For more information, learn more about our programs and services.